By Ciara Alexander, OSU Masters of Social Work Intern 2014
I didn’t realize I was saying something so meaningful. I didn’t think it to be out-of-the ordinary, and I certainly didn’t anticipate the delight it elicited. Even so, it happened: I saw a familiar face at Kids Club, and I greeted her… by name. A sheepish whisper, “Momma, she knows my name!” stopped me dead in my tracks.
I was humbled to see a child find such delight that I simply knew her name. It’s a small gesture, but its power is impressive, as our names can encompass our identities, acknowledgements, reputations and senses of belonging. At Kids Club, the children love to hear their names—to know they’re in a place of belonging and acceptance, and it is our privilege to foster that atmosphere.
At SON Ministries, we see the DIVINE in each person; each has a purpose and a voice.
Would you join us as we create a place of belonging for the children of Kids Club?
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1(b)
By Judy Mathis, Operations Coordinator at Serving Our Neighbors SON Ministries
Every person has a voice and a purpose
Relationships are a priority
Volunteers are the heart of the ministries
Inspiration comes from the unexpected
Noticeable impact is happening in the community
God has an amazing plan beyond understanding
Offering resources, programs, and fellowship
Unrestrained joy seeing children light up with smiles
Respect-filled hand up giving support and encouragement
Navigating over hurdles
Each day bringing its challenges, joys, and blessings
Incubating dreams toward positive changes
Giving hope to children and families
Hastened through transforming connections and relationships
Building trust, respect, and love for one another
On mission to alleviate poverty
Rallying people and organizations into partnerships
Striving together for the best for our neighbors, for our community
Blog by Teen Intern with SON Ministries
When I first started volunteering in the Early Childhood rooms of the Family ESOL/KIDS Club Program, I was pretty nervous. I had never really worked with babies or toddlers before, and I didn’t even know how to change diapers! But when the children started coming in, they made me feel welcome. Monica (age 4) first approached me with a book she wanted me to read to her. We felt an instant bond, and through Monica, I was able to learn how to interact with younger children. Instead of waiting for the children to ask me to play with a toy, I began to approach them first to make them feel at home. Working with the young children in this program has been a wonderful experience so far. I love seeing their beautiful smiles every time I come to volunteer. 🙂
At SON Ministries we build up COMMUNITY one respectful, empowering relationship at a time…
(SON NOTE: Since Summer of 2013 this teen intern – a very busy and hardworking teen in this community – has volunteered 133.8 hours with SON Ministries! Thank you and thank you to all of our TEEN INTERNS. You Rock!!!!)
Tiaira S. Turner
OSU Social Work Intern with SON Ministries, 2013/14 Academic Year
I think we all can attest that there is a deep longing in the human heart, and that is to love and be loved. If we think all the way back to the school age days, how anxious we were about being chosen to join in the games at recess, or in middle school- uncertain of who would let us join in their group at the lunch table, and of course in high school- who would invite us to be a part of their “circle” the entire school year. Even as adults we aim to cultivate meaningful friendships with people who will talk with us, laugh with us, and enjoy us.
The entire human race is in search of love, and acceptance and belonging. Thank God for the gift of family and friendships and relationships that satisfy this desire. I personally cannot think of anything that feels better than acceptance, and I cannot think of anything that hurts my heart more than rejection.
Love and acceptance and a sense of belonging are what I love about Tuesday night Kids Club. The children there make me think me so much of the love Jesus Christ has for all of mankind; they demonstrate the power of love that breaks down barriers and goes beyond all physical, spiritual and economical differences- and bring about unity and happiness.
I remember one night in particular at Kids Club, I was coloring at a table with a group of 4 girls. After about 30 minutes of coloring we had all exchanged names and began to develop a friendship, when in walks a small- somewhat shy girl- who we could tell wanted to join but was too afraid to ask. At this moment I held my breath when flashbacks of the rejection I experienced myself by peers at their age came to my remembrance. In a brief moment of silence which felt like a lifetime, one of the 4 girls spoke out with much excitement and compassion “HEY! You want to join us? Come sit and color with us, my name is ….!” I let out a deep sigh as my anxiety was replaced by peace! The 5 of us enjoyed one another’s presence, laughing and talking, and savored every moment.
The children at Tuesday Night Kids Club are so unique and every moment with them is a JOY. Volunteering at Kids Club isn’t work- it’s life! Our Lord said (and I am paraphrasing) “If I have all these things but do not have love- I am nothing” -1 Corinthians 10:7 MSG Version. Whether it’s child to child, volunteer to child, or volunteer to volunteer- KIDS CLUB IS ONE BIG LOVE FEST! Nothing makes my heart come more alive than witnessing and being a part of the friendly affectionate interactions that go on there J
At SON Ministries- PEOPLE are our PRIORITY – RELATIONSHIPS are our Goal!